The eastern front of the Rocky Mountains is sparsely populated, isolated, and incredibly beautiful. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s also a place of great paleontological mystery. Scientists have discovered a number of dinosaur fossils in this far eastern corner of the state, but none of them have nests. The discovery of dinosaur eggs fossilized along the Rocky Mountain Eastern Front helped scientists solve this mystery.
The eastern border of the Rocky Mountains defines the state’s mountainous territory, stretching for more than 500 miles from the upper Musselshell River valley near Harlowton to the border with Wyoming and South Dakota. While bison no longer roam the area, the eastern border of the state is the home to an incredible variety of wildlife. The Rocky Mountain Front is considered one of the most biologically diverse regions in the U.S., and it is recognized as an important wildlife area.
The Rocky Mountain Eastern Front, or the “Rockies” as they are commonly called, are a great example of a fusion of mountains and plains. The Front stretches 110 miles between the southern tip of Glacier National Park and Highway 200 south of Dearborn River. This region was once the location of the Old North Trail, North America’s oldest road. The mountains are still home to many natives, but a portion of the front is undeveloped.
This area is also home to numerous high-country lakes. The vast expanse of these lakes provides a unique combination of scenic beauty and excellent fishing. Some lakes, such as Yellowstone National Park, have over 700 miles of trails that can be accessed on foot. For those looking for a longer hike, there are guided tours available. However, the scenery is truly breathtaking. If you’re not into the outdoors, there are still plenty of activities available in this part of the country.
The Front’s greatest threat is the rapid development of large ranches. While the Front’s mountainous portions are mostly public land, grasslands are primarily private ranching. Many local landowners are committed to protecting their lands from development and to being good stewards. Public agencies and non-profit organizations provide funding and information about the region’s wildlife. This conservation effort will ensure the survival of these ecosystems.
The eastern part of the Rocky Mountain Eastern Front of Montana may seem intimidating at first. However, it’s full of simplicity and grandeur. A cottonwood tree lining a creek, waves of wheat, and lone trees on a hillside are a few examples of the many natural wonders you can experience here. The first rays of sun illuminate the sandstone cliffs in the distance. A weathered barn is surrounded by delicate snow patterns. At night, the northern lights glisten in the night sky. Antelope move through a sagebrush-covered prairie as the horizon seems to go on forever.
The Rocky Mountain Front is characterized by a fold-and-thrust belt system. The faults are mapped with a sawtooth on the upper block. They generally run northwest-southeast and dip to the southwest. Thrusts extend in an east-northeast direction, and their propagation is due to these faults. In fact, the western portion of the front resembles the Rocky Mountain Eastern Front in terms of its geology.